A BARANGAY DI­VIDED

A con­tro­ver­sial or­di­nance on the safety of the un­born child is caus­ing a stir among Ayala Ala­bang res­i­dents as is­sues on moral­ity, be­liefs and rights are raised.

Southern Living - - Southern News - BY SA­MAN­THA RAMOS- ZARAGOZA

The Sang­gu­ni­ang Barangay of Ayala Ala­bang en­acted the Barangay Or­di­nance 01-2011, also known as the Pro­tec­tion of the Un­born Child Or­di­nance of 2011, on Jan­uary 3, 2011. This has caused a rift be­tween pro-and anti-or­di­nance groups, which only fu­els the con­tro­versy even more.

The or­di­nance sup­ports its poli­cies with the Con­sti­tu­tion’s Ar­ti­cle II Sec­tion 11 to 14, Ar­ti­cle III Sec­tion 1, Ar­ti­cle XV Sec­tion 3, and Ar­ti­cles 256 to 259. These ci­ta­tions point out that the sanc­tity of fam­ily life must be pro­tected and strength­ened, the life and the rights of the mother and the un­born child should be de­fended, and that the pro­vi­sion of abor­ti­fa­cients and abortive acts are sub­ject to the Re­vised Pe­nal Code.

The Peo­ple’s Re­ac­tion

Not ev­ery­one found the or­di­nance ben­e­fi­cial to the barangay. As one Ayala Ala­bang Vil­lage (AAV) res­i­dent says, “I find it of­fen­sive that my free, in­formed, and very per­sonal choice has been taken away.” An­other res­i­dent from a neigh­bor­ing barangay shares her views as well, say­ing, “I think that the or­di­nance is poorly worded. The word­ing al­ludes to the not-so-sub­tle aim to stig­ma­tize con­tra­cep­tives by la­bel­ing them as abor­ti­fa­cients. I'm not for pre-mar­i­tal sex, but just be­cause I sup­port re­pro­duc­tive health doesn't mean that I sac­ri­fice one value for the other.”

There are also those who see the or­di­nance as laud­able. AAV res­i­dent Ser­afin Cauilan shares, “I sup­port the or­di­nance. It is in line with the law. Even on the moral is­sue, it is right. It sad­dens me how this has turned into a con­tro­versy. I hope that we can all come to­gether and make this or­di­nance work for all.” A letter cir­cu­lated in AAV ad­dressed to the barangay chair­man states, “ This com­mend­able lo­cal leg­is­la­tion re­in­forces the morals and val­ues of our com­mu­nity for the sanc­tity of life and de­fense of the help­less chil­dren still un­born in­side their mother’s wombs.”

On the other side of the spec­trum, anti-RH Bill ad­vo­cate Jill Al­coreza sees how the or­di­nance

Pro­tec­tion of the Un­born Child Or­di­nance of 2011 points out that the sanc­tity of fam­ily life must be pro­tected

and strength­ened, the life and the rights of the mother and the un­born child should be de­fended, and that the pro­vi­sion of abor­ti­fa­cients and abortive acts are sub­ject

to the Re­vised Pe­nal Code.

is not fa­vor­able to the com­mu­nity. “My ini­tial re­ac­tion was grate­ful­ness for the peo­ple who ac­tively ex­pressed concern or great value for life—par­tic­u­larly that of the un­born child. But as I fur­ther re­flected, I was sad­dened with the sit­u­a­tion that the pro-and anti-or­di­nance groups are in. In­stead of be­ing united to achieve a com­mon goal, the com­mu­nity is ef­fec­tively di­vided,” Al­coreza says. An­other anti-RH Bill sup­porter Juan M. Borra III also shares, “I'm not a big fan of such heavy­handed at­tempts to pro­scribe a cer­tain moral view. You can­not leg­is­late moral­ity. You can, how­ever, raise a per­son to be moral.”

Com­mit­tee on Health and San­i­ta­tion An­swers Back

The Com­mit­tee on Health and San­i­ta­tion of the Sang­gu­ni­ang Pan­glung­sod ng Muntinlupa wrote to Barangay Ayala Ala­bang in a letter dated Jan­uary 11, 2011, say­ing how the word­ing of the or­di­nance may be ques­tioned in a court of law. Among other things, the com­mit­tee points out how “Barangay Health Cen­ters are man­dated to com­ply with the di­rec­tives and guide­lines is­sued and pro­mul­gated by the Depart­ment of Health ( DOH).” IUDs and hor­monal con­tra­cep­tives are in­cluded in the DOH’s list of ad­mis­si­ble meth­ods of the Fam­ily Plan­ning Pro­gram.

Due to the is­sues ad­dressed by the com­mit­tee, Barangay Ayala Ala­bang held a sec­ond pub­lic hear­ing on March 19, 2011. The out­come of the hear­ing was aimed to aid the Sang­gu­ni­ang Pan­glu­sod of Muntinlupa in mak­ing the de­ci­sion re­gard­ing the or­di­nance. The hear­ing turned into a heated de­bate where the “anti” side spoke about the le­gal­ity of the or­di­nance while the “ pro” side pushed the need to re­in­force moral­ity.

As we go to press, the Sang­gu­ni­ang Barangay of Ayala Ala­bang has not dis­closed clear steps of ac­tion with re­gards to rec­ti­fy­ing or re­tain­ing the or­di­nance. De­spite the di­vide the or­di­nance has caused, the peo­ple of Ayala Ala­bang agree on one thing— the prob­lems our so­ci­ety is fac­ing must be ad­dressed with a vi­able and law­ful so­lu­tion agree­able to all.

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